Picture Source: Google, Quote culled from Nicola Yoon’s ‘The Sun is also a Star’.
You do not wake up until 12:00pm, sweaty with a full shot of headache. You are certainly taking the day off work. You look around your room now that sunshine streams in from the window side. Save for the pile of hair on the floor that greet your gaze, everything else appears serene, unperturbed. Your hair, dammit! You want to cry but you don’t. You are still in your work clothes from yesterday but a little less bitter about your life.
You clean up your room and take a long cold shower, basking in the sensations that seize you as water splashes on your scalp. Maybe cutting your hair wasn’t such a bad idea after all, you decide. You change into a short black dress and stay in bed for the rest of the day, shuffling between movies, and writing in your journal. You forget to eat.
Bad mood suffocates me like foul air sometimes. All it takes is one moment, a second and all the things going wrong or about to go wrong or I fear will go wrong crash in my face pooling tears in my eyes. Then I become full with grief, and wait to explode. I remember the choices I did not make and regret the ones I did. Yesterday, I had a major explosion. I am not sure what triggered it, but it surely came to fore after the call with Boma. And no, it’s not Boma, it’s me. I know it’s an overused line, but the truth cannot be over-sold.
With NYSC rounding off in a month, and me, still yet to hitch a job or find a man, I am constantly faced with the question of where my life is going and what the future would look like. A lot of my friends seem to have achieved a lot during this one year; some completed projects in their communities or at least kick-started it and now have something prestigious to add to their CV, some are getting married to boyfriends they met at Camp, some have jobs already waiting for them after service, some have hitched a boyfriend or two along the line and while it would hardly increase their job prospects, it affords them a husband material to take home to mama… and I am here, having nothing and too good for love, writing this self-pity journal, mildly wondering why my last date ghosted on me and when it will be my chance to get lucky.
I have tried dating but I have hardly ever gone past a first date—they say “We should certainly meet again sometime soon” but we never do. I have sent in application letters to too many companies and shared my CV with too many people, but the same response meets me: “we will get back to you shortly”. They hardly ever do.
But I know I shouldn’t do this: compare myself with others because each man to his own race course. So I am taking a break from other people’s lives. With social media applications gone, and a new sim in my phone, I can monitor what and who gets to me and meet my life where it meets me. Sometimes, we need to disconnect from people to connect with ourselves; and that is totally fine.
It’s me; I know it’s all me. But even that knowledge is not satisfying. I need a breakthrough.
Yours, the unmade adult child.
You sleep the rest of the day away until a knock finds you in your dreams. It is 6:30pm. You shuffle to the door of your en-suite apartment to find a worried Sam. You open the door to let him in.
“Goodness! Your hair!”
You make a short laugh and shrug his questioning gaze off. “How did you know my apartment?”
“And good evening to you too.”
You smirk. “Forgive my manners, good evening. Please have a seat.” You gesture towards the bed, the only “seat” in the house.
He takes a seat and makes a show of looking around your well-furnished apartment with approving eyes. “For a corper, I will say you have a high taste.”
“Let’s say I will do anything to make a strange place feel like home. So, how did you find me?”
“It was easy. I just had to ask for the gorgeous fair youth corper who lived here, and all fingers pointed towards your door. What happened to you?”
“Right!” you smirk “you forgot to add ‘fat’. What can I offer you?”
“An explanation. Come here and have a seat. Let’s talk about yesterday and your hair.”
You roll your eyes. “Making orders in my own house? For a gentleman, I will say you have too much nerves.”
He smiles. “I do when I need to. Common now, sit. Please.”
You oblige him. “I was just unhappy is all. Nothing “happened”.” You emphasize “happened” by raising your fingers to put imaginary air marks.
“And your hair? A terrible accident?”
“Well, I wanted a new look.”
“For someone who has a good taste in interior décor, I will say you have a horrible fashion taste. You do know you have to visit the barber, right? You look unfinished…”
You laugh. “Thank you for the compliment and yes, I know.”
“So is this the reason you didn’t come to work today?”
“I wasn’t feeling very well. That’s the reason.”
“And your phone? Switched off. No one could reach you. We were worried sick. Everyone kept turning to me because they knew I was the last person that saw you. You could have called me Grace. You could have said something, or sent me a message. I kept sending you emails, you didn’t–”
“I am sorry Sam. I am sorry. I—I felt suicidal yesterday, okay? I just needed to get myself together.”
“Suicidal? And you say nothing happened?”
“I am fine now Sam.”
“If you wouldn’t talk to me, have you at least talked to someone about it?”
“Yes. I have.” You smile to reassure him that you are okay, but it is futile. His face looks flushed, his worry imminent. “Thank you for taking the pains to come see if I am okay.”
“I don’t know what to say Grace.” He looks away from you, shaking his head and twiddling with his car key.
“Say “you are welcome””
He smiles. You smile too. “Good to know you are fine anyway.”
“Yeah, glad I made it.” You check the time, it is almost 7pm and you begin to feel uneasy.
“Err, it’s getting late, you know?”
He looks up at the time, then at you. “Are you sending me off so soon?”
“Not that I don’t want you to stay, but I imagine you must have some things to tend to at home. I don’t want to keep you longer than you have to be here.”
“Don’t be too kind. There is nothing to rush home to. No dinner. No wife, or fiancee, or girlfriend.”
You blush. “Okay, let’s make you dinner before it gets too late”
You make Garri and Egusi for both of you, and you eat from the same plate which feels a tad sentimental. You start to feel a little too self- conscious in your short dress as you see his eyes roving every inch of your body.
“You know I like you, right?”
You smile. “Yes. You are too obvious about it.”
He laughs. “Well, good. And I know you like me too.”
Now, you are the one laughing. “You look like the kind of girl I would like to settle down with.”
“What? Is it you or the food? Mum always said the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. I never wanted to believe it, but now I am tempted to.”
He laughs. “But I am serious about this…”
“You don’t know me Sam.”
“I want to now.”
“If you knew me, you would change your mind. I would rather bask in the euphoria of this pleasant friendship we share now, than lose you—or well, the free rides home!”
He smiles. “What will make me hate you? Your impulsive change of taste and hairstyle? The history of how many boys you have dated and the ones whose hearts you have broken?”
“Yes. And my penchant for invading the souls of well-meaning men with my beautiful corruption.”
“Now I am scared…” he fakes a shiver, you laugh. “But I still want you. Your virus and beautiful corruption. I want to be invaded by you.”
You check the time again. 7:35.
“It’s late Sam. Plus I have to prepare for tomorrow. Figure out what to do with my hair and stuff.”
“I want you.” He insists, ignoring your efforts to send him off.
“Don’t want me Sam. I am not as pretty inside.”
“I don’t want pretty, I want Grace.” he winks.
You smile. “I don’t know Sam. Maybe we will revisit this after you get to know me better. Thank you so much for coming around, and keeping me company. Drive safely, okay? See you tomorrow.”
“Whatever you do with your hair, make sure you stay recognizable. Please.”
You laugh, as you shut the door after him. “I’ll try.”
© The Short Black Girl, 2017.